Failed the Breath Test and Arrested for DWI? What’s Next?
Understanding the Texas DWI Process
You’ve been pulled over for driving while intoxicated (dunk driving). Understanding the process ahead of you and what actions you should take to protect your interests can make a considerable difference in your satisfaction with the outcome of your case.
- Roadside breath tests: When an officer pulls you over on suspicion of DWI, the officer may request that you submit to a roadside Breathalyzer test. This is not the same breath test that is conducted at the police station. You have a right to refuse the roadside breath test without facing license suspension.
- Field sobriety tests: The police officer will likely also request that you submit to a series of standardized field sobriety tests, such as the walk-and-turn, the one-leg-stand or the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN). While the results of these tests can be used as probable cause for your arrest, they are highly subjective and can be difficult for most people who are not intoxicated to perform successfully. Factors such as your weight, your shoes, the weather, the officer communicating with you during the test, the ground level and many others factors can significantly affect your ability to perform the tests and give the impression that you are intoxicated. I have extensive experience refuting field sobriety test evidence at trial.
- At the police station: If you are arrested for driving while intoxicated, you will be brought to the police station where you will be processed and asked to submit to an official breath test. Refusing the breath test at the station violates Texas implied consent laws. Not only will you face extended license suspension for refusing the breath test (at least 180 days as opposed to 90 days for DWI/DUI), the officers will still obtain a reading of your blood alcohol content (BAC) level through a blood test. If the officers failed to inform you of the consequences of refusing the breath test, I can bring this to light in your administrative license hearing and DWI case.
- Immediate license suspension: When you are arrested for DWI, your license will be suspended and you will receive a temporary driving permit that will be valid for 40 days. This suspension is a civil matter and occurs before the outcome of your criminal DWI case will be determined. If you want to contest the suspension of your driver’s license, you must request an administrative license review (ALR) hearing within 15 days of your arrest or you will lose your right to do so. If a hearing is not requested, your license (and temporary permit) will automatically be suspended 40 days after your arrest. However, if a hearing is requested, the suspension could be delayed until your hearing is heard and decided. If the hearing is won, obviously, your license is not suspended.
- ALR hearings/license hearings: Requesting an ALR hearing is important for many reasons, including contesting the case to avoid or delay suspension and to properly prepare for your criminal DWI case. Much of the evidence needed to prepare your case can be obtained quicker through the ALR hearing than it can be without the ALR hearing. The ALR hearing provides opportunity to learn what evidence the prosecution has and to hear the testimony of the arresting officer. Because your criminal case may not proceed to trial (if there is a trial) for several months, the testimony of the officer may alter over time, making it easier to impeach this evidence at your criminal trial.
- Your criminal DWI case: Your criminal DWI case will proceed, regardless of the outcome of your ALR hearing. While many criminal cases in Texas offer the opportunity for preferred adjudication, DWI is not one of them. Texas takes DWI charges seriously and the ramifications of a conviction are harsh. Hiring an experienced lawyer who will aggressively represent your interests at the negotiating table or at trial is critical to ensure your interests are fully protected.
San Antonio Lawyer Helping You Fight DWI Penalties
It is important to understand that even when there is strong evidence against you, there are ways to challenge this evidence in the courtroom, from challenging validity of breath test results to overcoming other DWI evidence. I am a defense attorney with the experience necessary to fight the criminal case against you. Contact me for a free consultation.
My law firm is located one block east of San Antonio Community College. Free parking is available. My hours are 8:30 to 5:30, Monday through Friday. However, I will give you my cell phone number so you can get in touch with me when you need to. Evening and weekend consultations are available by appointment.
Office staff speaks Spanish.
Credit cards accepted.